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The men behind Tirreno-Adriatico (l-r): Captain Vittorio Alessandro, Michele Acquarone (General Manager, RCS Sport), Alfredo Martini (former director, Italian cycling team), Gianni Valenti (Vice Editor Gazzetta dello Sport), Giuseppe Bellandi (Mayor of Montecatini), Mauro Vegni (Chief of Operations, Giro d’Italia)
Acquarone says television rights at the heart of the issue
After 45 years in existence, the future of Tirreno-Adriatico is under a very dark cloud.
De Telegraaf reported on Monday that organisers of the WorldTour event, RCS Sport, are struggling to maintain its funding.
"For several years the Tirreno-Adriatico has cost us much money," Michele Acquarone said. "That needs to stop."
"I cannot keep asking my bosses at RCS Sport to lose so much money on the race. Especially in these times."
Acquarone told the publication that the major issue is television rights. The event shares calendar space with Paris-Nice, which seems to be the preferred option for international broadcasters.
"We have great champions at the start, great racing, but nobody can see it," he said.
This year, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was crowned champion, while in 2011, Cadel Evans took the honours en route to his Tour de France victory. Other previous winners include Fabian Cancellara (2008), Óscar Freire (2005), Tony Rominger (1989-1990), Francesco Moser (1980-1981) and Roger de Vlaeminck (1972-1977).
Acquarone also warned about profit margins on two Italian classics, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia.
"Financially, these classics are certainly not healthy," he said. "A classic like the Strade Bianchi however has big potential. Maybe in future we should move Milan-San Remo and the Tour Giro di Lombardia to the Sunday."